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Deeply savory and warmly-spiced classic Dirty Rice is one of the best New Orleans side dish recipes. Discover how to make homemade Dirty Rice in a Dutch oven; no plane ticket to Louisiana required.

Cooked dirty rice in a Dutch oven.

While I am constantly fighting a battle to combat my kids’ dirty playroom, sometimes it can be a very good thing to be dirty. Case in point: Dirty Rice, a traditional Louisiana Creole recipe that features white rice that gets “dirty” by cooking alongside pieces of pork, sausage, beef, and/or chicken livers, plus a mix of vegetables and spices.

Dirty Rice recipes are part of the soul food repertoire and date back to the late 1700s. There’s a reason why it’s been a staple in New Orleans and beyond for more than three centuries; Dirty Rice is deeply savory, just spicy enough, and super-satisfying whether you enjoy it as a side dish or entree. Dust off your Dutch oven and let’s dive into how to make Dirty Rice (no matter how close or far you live from the bayou).

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Dirty Rice Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for dirty rice.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Onion, red bell pepper, celery: Together, this trio is known as the “Holy Trinity” and is the base of many classic Cajun and Louisiana Creole recipes.
  • Chicken livers: Dirty Rice is traditionally made with chicken livers (in fact, this ingredient gives the rice dish its “dirty” name), but you can omit it entirely. Or substitute 4 ounces of ground beef or ground pork if you’d prefer.
  • Chicken broth: Start with your favorite store-bought brand. Feeling ambitious? Opt for Homemade Chicken Broth instead.
  • Long-grain white rice: Yes, I know it can sound fussy to rinse the rice first, but it’s worth the extra few seconds. Simply transfer 1 ½ cups rice to a strainer and gently shake it under running water for 15 to 30 seconds. This will remove the starch on the surface of the rice, which, if kept in place, can lead to gummy results once cooked.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add pork and cook until browned, about 5 minutes, breaking up any clumps of meat.
Ground pork in a Dutch oven.
  1. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken livers (if using), garlic, salt, thyme, and cayenne, and continue to cook until chicken livers are browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer meat mixture to a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.
Ground pork and vegetables being cooked in a Dutch oven.
  1. Return Dutch oven to heat and add broth, rice and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low cover and cook until rice is tender, about 15 to 17 minutes.
Cooked dirty rice in a Dutch oven.
  1. Remove pot from heat and discard bay leaves. Fluff rice with a fork and return the meat mixture to the pot, discarding any accumulated juices. Gently stir to combine. Garnish with scallions and serve.
Cooked dirty rice in a Dutch oven.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This homemade Dirty Rice recipe yields eight 1-cup servings, ideal as a side dish. Or split it into four 2-cup servings; the the protein from the pork and livers, this is definitely hearty enough to act as a main dish with a generous portion.
  • Storage: Allow the Dirty Rice to cool, transfer to an airtight container, then store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Allow the Dirty Rice to cool, transfer to a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 
  • Reheat: To reheat leftovers on the stovetop, place the Dirty Rice in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir and add small amounts of water as needed until the Dirty Rice is warm and reads 165 degrees on a digital thermometer. To reheat in the microwave, place extra Dirty Rice in a microwave-safe dish, cover, leaving the lid partially vented, and reheat on medium. Stir every 30 to 45 seconds until rice is warm and reads 165 degrees on a digital thermometer. 
Dirty rice being scooped out of a gray serving bowl.

Recipe FAQs

What are other names for Dirty Rice?

You might hear Dirty Rice referred to by one of its synonyms, including rice dressing, Cajun Rice, or Cajun Fried Rice.

What should I serve with Dirty Rice?

If you’re serving Dirty Rice as a side dish, consider pairing it with an entree like Instant Pot Pot Roast or Pork Tenderloin with Bacon and Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce. If you’re enjoying Dirty Rice as the star of the show, try it with a side of Hoppin’ John or Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade. And for the 21+ crowd, a round of Hurricane Cocktails is pretty much a must.

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Dirty rice in a Dutch oven.

Dirty Rice

Deeply savory and warmly-spiced classic Dirty Rice is one of the best New Orleans side dish recipes. Discover how to make homemade Dirty Rice in a Dutch oven; no plane ticket to Louisiana required.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 8 servings, 1-cup each
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 166

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 1 onion finely chopped (see note 1)
  • 1 red bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib minced
  • 4 ounces chicken liver rinsed, trimmed, and finely chopped (see note 2)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken broth (see note 3)
  • 1/ 1/2 cups long-grain white rice rinsed (see note 4)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 scallions thinly sliced, for garnish

Instructions 

  • In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add pork and cook until browned, about 5 minutes, breaking up any clumps of meat.
  • Add onion, bell pepper, and celery, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken livers (if using), garlic, salt, thyme, and cayenne, and continue to cook until chicken livers are browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer meat mixture to a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Return Dutch oven to heat and add broth, rice and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low cover and cook until rice is tender, about 15 to 17 minutes. Remove pot from heat and discard bay leaves. Fluff rice with a fork and return the meat mixture to the pot, discarding any accumulated juices. Gently stir to ocmbine. Garnish with scallions and serve.

Notes

  1. Onion, red bell pepper, celery: Together, this trio is known as the “Holy Trinity” and is the base of many classic Cajun and Louisiana Creole recipes.
  2. Chicken livers: Dirty Rice is traditionally made with chicken livers (in fact, this ingredient gives the rice dish its “dirty” name), but you can omit it entirely. Or substitute 4 ounces of ground beef or ground pork if you’d prefer.
  3. Chicken broth: Start with your favorite store-bought brand. Feeling ambitious? Opt for Homemade Chicken Broth instead.
  4. Long-grain white rice: Yes, I know it can sound fussy to rinse the rice first, but it’s worth the extra few seconds. Simply transfer 1 ½ cups rice to a strainer and gently shake it under running water for 15 to 30 seconds. This will remove the starch on the surface of the rice, which, if kept in place, can lead to gummy results once cooked.
  5. Yield: This homemade Dirty Rice recipe yields eight 1-cup servings, ideal as a side dish. Or split it into four 2-cup servings; the the protein from the pork and livers, this is definitely hearty enough to act as a main dish with a generous portion.
  6. Storage: Allow the Dirty Rice to cool, transfer to an airtight container, then store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  7. Freezing: Allow the Dirty Rice to cool, transfer to a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 166kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 9gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 562mgPotassium: 252mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 2116IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 23mgIron: 2mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. Hi Meggan, been digging your recipes so far! The clam chowder was delicious.
    On rice though, I normally double the liquid to rice ratio. Can you explain why not here?

  2. Hi Meghan, been digging your recipes so far! The clam chowder was delicious.
    On rice though, I normally double the liquid to rice ratio. Can you explain why not here?